Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine:Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery 2003 Syrah, Estate Reserve (Santa Cruz Mountains)

Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery

2003 Syrah, Estate Reserve
(Santa Cruz Mountains)



Christine and Van Slater, owners of Hunter Hill Estate Vineyards in Soquel, CA, didn’t need to plant a vineyard. But they did. Because there was already an orchard on their family-owned property deep in the hills of Soquel, they knew grapes would manage. It’s an old adage that any place you can grow tree fruit in the Santa Cruz Mountains without having to irrigate, is a good place to plant vines. So they did. And they planted a hefty amount of Merlot beginning in 1994, continuing until the planting of the Syrah block in 1999. Years later, they have found themselves grafting over a good deal of Merlot to Pinot. However, the Syrah remains intact. This grape does really well in this fog-kissed mountain climate.

This example from Hunter Hill is true-to-its-roots French-style Syrah: earthy and wet, with a very appealing nose of lavender and thyme. This is a great setup for the amazing salami and thuringer flavors of my youth that follow – all nice and meaty, followed by chewy cherries and cranberries. It seems like the perfect wine for a holiday feast of roast duck with cornbread and apricot stuffing. Or perhaps a rack of lamb with oven-roasted brussell sprouts, red carrots and baby beets with onion and garlic. Pour some balsamic and orange or lemon-infused olive oil over and the hunter will meet the hunted. When you’re looking for wine to go with game, Hunter Hill has it in the bag.

(Alc: 14%, Retail: $35)

Reviewed February 9, 2007 by Laura Ness.

The Wine

Winery: Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery
Vineyard: Estate Reserve
Vintage: 2003
Wine: Syrah
Appellation: Santa Cruz Mountains
Grape: Syrah / Shiraz
Price: 750ml $35.00

Review Date: 2/9/2007

The Reviewer

Laura Ness

A wine writer and wine judge for major publications and competitions around the country, Laura Ness likens wine to the experience of music. She is always looking for that ubiquitous marriage of rhythm, melody, and flawless execution. What is good music? You know it when you get lost in it. What is good wine? It is music in your mouth.